#8: Abused for the Dharma

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Rinpoche's parents wanted him to lead a normal life


His foster parents were strictly opposed to his passion for Dharma and H.E. Tsem Rinpoche received the harshest physical and psychological punishment every time he was caught at the temple or reciting mantras in his room. Rinpoche was treated as a servant and had to clean and do garden work many hours every day.

Young Rinpoche playing football - his foster father insisted on his involvement in sports

Everything having to do with Dharma practice had to be a secret; Rinpoche would hide his Manjushri statue in his bedside table, he would read Dharma books under the covers by torchlight and even mantras were recited secretly and quietly. He had to lie to his parents every time he went to see his Guru or to the temple, saying that he was meeting friends. Occasionally he would say that he was visiting his cousins who would cover for him when his mother called to check, which she would do all the time. His mother even went to the extent of spreading unfounded rumours among Mongolians about his Guru, Kensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche.

I got caught a few times and was severely beaten for it. But I kept lying for years. If I go to the temple and get beaten once, it was worth it. Lying is bad karma, but not getting Dharma is even more bad karma.

Rinpoche's foster parents wanted him to go to university, get a good job...

...and start a family. Heavy involvement in Dharma was a no-no

His parents wanted him to study, attend college, start a family and just pray once in a while. But although he excelled in his studies, Rinpoche had a severe dislike of going to school, finding it a waste of time. He would constantly pray to do Dharma and to be a monk. The urge to look for a cave, meditate and do mantras was overpowering and continuous.

Despite all opposition from his parents, Rinpoche's passion and dedication to the Dharma was boundless. He would not be swayed regardless of whatever they said or did to him

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